Pop superstar Kelly Clarkson tweeted recently that it’s been sixteen years since she won the first season of American Idol. Firstly, this made me feel very old but then it made me think of her career over those last sixteen years. What a phenomenal and criminally underrated popstar she truly is. Kelly Clarkson really is one of the most underrated pop artists of the century. So I thought I’d celebrate our favourite American Idol by sharing my ten favourite songs by her.
Taken from Clarkson’s third studio album ‘My December’, ‘Maybe’ is one of the most heartbreaking songs of Kellys career. The lyrics are incredibly raw with Clarkson delivering a stunning vocal that perfectly conveys the emotional weight of the words. I love that this song is a real slow burner, not breaking from it’s simplistic acoustic guitar until just after the 2 minute mark.
09. The War Is Over
From Clarkson’s fifth studio album ‘Stronger’, ‘The War Is Over’ is classic Kelly Clarkson pop-rock. Written and produced by one of my favourite producers, Toby Gad, this track delivers everything you need in a classic Kelly track. My favourite thing about this track is that Kelly sounds a little more restrained for most of the song before that final chorus where she really sings the crap out of it.
08. Catch My Breath
The lead single from her first Greatest Hits collection, ‘Catch My Breath’ is a little bit more pop than we’re used to from Kelly but this poppier sound suits her really well. For me, it’s all about the chorus on this song with those amazing guitar riffs.
It truly is my belief that if Kelly’s record label hadn’t botched the album campaign for ‘My December’ that ‘Sober’ would have been one of the biggest hits of her career. Like ‘Maybe’, Sober is an incredibly raw and heartfelt song. You just need to listen to this track to understand why it’s so loved amongst fans.
06. Move You
I will never understand why Kelly and her team didn’t release ‘Move You’ as a single. From her most recent album ‘The Meaning of Life’, Move You is an absolutely stunning ballad. This song would have been massive had it been released around Christmas time. There are no words to describe how good Kelly sounds on this song. I actually think this is the best Kelly has ever sounded and when you are as good as Kelly is, that means a lot.
05. Let Your Tears Fall
Clarkson’s sixth album ‘Piece By Piece’ was a divisive album amongst fans for it’s electro pop influences but I love it. ‘Let Your Tears Fall’ is the best representation of that sound – packed to the seams with catchy hooks and slick synth beats. But it’s all grounded by Kelly’s incredible ability to make any song her own.
Kelly’s album ‘Stronger’ is undoubtedly my favourite albums of her as it is peak pop-rock Clarkson. ‘Honestly’ is my favourite track from that album because it takes that pop-rock sound and totally turns it on it’s head. This song is haunting, a quality that I can’t recall from any of her other tracks.
03. One Minute
I can still remember the first time I heard this song. Kelly performed it at Daytona 500 in the US and I remember being OBSESSED for months with my dodgy MP3 rip of the performance. It’s probably the first time Clarkson introduced a bit of electro pop into her sound and it works so well with the rockier energy to this song.
‘Breakaway’ is without a doubt the best single Kelly Clarkson has released. The production on this is absolutely sublime. Despite being released in 2004, this song hasn’t aged a day. Listening to this song takes me right back to my teenage days where I would listen to this track and the album on repeat for hours every night.
01. Don’t Let Me Stop You
And my favourite Kelly Clarkson track is ‘Don’t Let Me Stop You’, from her 4th studio album ‘All I Ever Wanted’. It’s funny that this is my favourite song from Clarkson when the album it’s from is my least favourite of hers. Why this song? I love Kelly best when she’s in full pop-rock mode and to me this is maximum pop-rock Clarkson. She’s a vocal powerhouse on this track (isn’t she always) but it’s the more aggressive energy to this song that I love so much.